"Actually, we were just talking - the whole group - about something unrelated to everything, very friendly", Mr Trump said. The photo showcases the chancellor with her hands placed on the table facing a seated Donald Trump.
The EU has vowed to retaliate against US metal tariffs imposed by US President Donald Trump, and tensions worsened at a Group of Seven summit in Canada after Trump rejected an attempt to write a consensus statement and bitterly insulted the Canadian host.
Multilateral action was needed to prevent "tit-for-tat" reprisals, she said, adding that the concerns of countries about unfair trade practices must be "addressed not ignored". "Instead, we will also act accordingly", Merkel said in an unusually combative tone.
Merkel described the joint communiqué Trump refused to sign, despite America's co-authorship, as "arduously negotiated".
Although U.S. senators have warned that a spat risks launching a "trade war", the key factor behind Trump's apparent policy zigzag was a matter of his image ahead of a first ever meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un this week, according to Trump's economic adviser Larry Kudlow.More news: Angela Merkel: German chancellor meets with Trump, Obama, Bush through the years
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Expectations for a breakthrough at the summit, however, are low, with USA allies focused on avoiding rupturing the G7, which in its 42-year history has tended to seek consensus on major issues.
Trump, who is in Singapore for negotiations with North Korea, continued to rip into U.S. trading partners late Sunday night Eastern Time, repeating complaints about the United States trade deficit and contributions to NATO.
May thanked Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for organizing the summit.
In a meeting at the White House during the French president's visit to Washington in April, Macron suggested the United States and France should work together to resolve shared trade problems with Beijing, prompting Trump to make his remark, a person in the room told CNN.
Other G7 countries lobbied unsuccessfully at the summit for the USA oto reverse its tariffs on imported steel and aluminium imports.
Germany's influential centre-right leader said a tariff-free area among G7 allies would be an ideal outcome, but she made clear that any talks about this sort of trade bloc would have to include non-tariff barriers to trade as well as free access to public tenders, which Trump's isolationist and protectionist supporters in the USA have opposed. "This is probably not because he does not understand, but because of domestic reasons", said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.